Water is the most important source of life on Earth. You can survive more than three weeks without food, but water is a completely different story. It would only take about three days for you to perish without this precious life source.
It’s not surprising that we must have to water to sustain life considering that the average adult is made up of about 57% water. As expected, the need to maintain adequate hydration becomes much greater in conditions of extreme heat and intense physical exercise like basketball.
When your body starts to heat up during basketball practice or a game, the body’s cooling system kicks into gear and you begin to sweat. Some people sweat more than others, but not to worry if you happen to be a “sweat hog” because you typically only need to be concerned about your overall health if you aren’t sweating at all.
While sweating is the most natural response to the body overheating, a lot of water and vital fluids known as ‘electrolytes’ are lost during this process. If these fluids are not consistently replaced each day, then the body becomes dehydrated leading to more serious health concerns with symptoms like cramping, dizziness, nausea, extreme thirst, migraines, constipation and skin problems. Doesn’t sound too pleasant, right?
It’s said that by the time that you are experiencing thirst on any level you are already in a slightly dehydrated state. Rather than waiting until getting to this point or worse, it’s always smart to stay ahead in the game of hydration and ward off dehydration by taking action.
Keys to maintaining proper hydration as a basketball player include keeping a daily water log, understanding your water needs, being prepared with fresh water at all times, replenishing electrolytes and seeking out the highest quality of water sources available to you.
By following these guidelines for staying hydrated like a basketball champion, you are sure to increase your opportunities for peak performances and avoid the side-lining symptoms of dehydration.
5 Keys To Hydration For
1. Keep a Water Log During Basketball Training
As you are first starting out, it’s important to keep track of how much water you are or aren’t drinking each day. Keeping a daily water log might give you surprising answers since it’s impossible to keep up with fluid intakes by memory. You will learn exactly how much you need to increase your water intake or maybe you will find that you are doing just fine.
You can mark off every 8-12 ounces that you drink on paper if you find that easy, or there are water bottles out there that you can buy that keep track of your water intake by recording how many times you’ve filled it up.
Whichever method you choose for keeping track, just be sure that you stay consistent with it.
2. Understand Your Basketball Water Needs
The amount of water you need will change from day to day depending on your activity level. Everyone has different baseline water needs defendant upon varying factors like metabolism speed, body weight, climate, elevation and sweat output.
A general marker is to drink at least half of your body weight in water each day. However, athletes need more than this considering the high activity level and sweat output. Assuming that you are already hydrated before you start a workout, practice or game, it’s recommended that you try and keep up with about 7-10 ounces of water every 20-25 minutes of basketball activity. Keep in mind that this amount increases the more heavily you sweat.
Realistically, you know your body better than anyone and half of the battle of determining your water needs is simply to listen to your body and take notice of how much you are drinking compared to your exertion levels and sweat output. In time, understanding you daily water needs will become second nature to you.
3. Be Prepared at all Times
Since water is the one thing as a basketball player that you are going to need at practically any given time of the day, it’s smart to be prepared at all times.
This means that you must consider how much access you have to water each day and what you need to do to ensure that you will always have it available to you no matter where you are. A few ideas include carrying a larger water bottle with you so that you won’t need to refill as often, or just being sure that you refill your bottle before each class.
Assuming you will need more water for your basketball activities, be sure to plan ahead and always bring more water bottle. It’s much easier to have a large personal bottle with you so that you can keep track of how much you’re drinking rather than running to the fountain and sipping an uncertain amount before resuming activity.
4. Replenish your Electrolytes
When you sweat, you lose electrolytes which are important salts in the body that carry an ionic or electrical charge. They support basic muscle function important for basketball and sports performance, which is why the idea of flavored sports performance drinks became so popular.
However, most popular sports performance drinks today are loaded with entirely too much sugar and sodium and are lacking in other important electrolytes like potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride and bicarbonate. I recommend going for a specialty electrolyte replacement product not found in major grocery stores or gas stations to replace these vital fluids. Most quality sources of electrolytes come as a powder that you mix with water.
Another way to get electrolytes is to include more dark green, leafy vegetables into your diet as well as potassium-rich foods like bananas and almonds.
5. Choose High-Quality Water Sources
All water is not created equal. In fact, it’s not really a secret anymore that much of our tap water found in public water fountains and from the sinks of our homes are contaminated with toxins like fluoride. Although it is said that these chemicals are safe for human consumption in very small amounts, the real issue is that no one really knows how much is actually being used in treating our public water.
I’m not trying to scare you off from ever drinking from the water fountain again, but I do believe that considering higher-quality water sources is ideal.
There are really great brands of bottled water at stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts where more organic options are available. Essentia and Voss are my favorite bottled brands since they are more alkalinized with a pH of 9.0.
Another alternative to tap water is investing in a Kangen water filtration system. These systems are unique in that they completely remove all of the chemicals from the water and bring the water to a healthy pH level of 7.0 and higher.
Alkalinized water means that the water is less acidic and is more readily absorbed by the body promoting efficient hydration. Acidic water is not as healthy and unfortunately tap water has an acidic pH and unless you buy bottled brands with a higher pH or invest in a filtration system, it’s impossible to find this quality of water through public sources.
It certainly is more expensive to invest in better water, but considering that your body is made up of over half water than it’s a smart, healthy move if you are able to do so. If you don’t have access to these better water sources, not to worry – do the best you can by sticking to what is available to you since the bottom line is that any safe water is better than no water.
Proper hydration is key to performing like a basketball champion during each workout, practice and game. Now that you have some guidelines to follow, you shouldn’t have to worry about the lagging effects of dehydration. So hop to it and grab what you need to stay on top of replenishing your body’s most precious substance – water!